Deus otiosus: The Hidden God

Saint Thomas argued that God was hidden to the senses and unknowable through ordinary contemplation. The hidden nature of God explains the need for revelation and, ultimately, for Christ, the Incarnation of God as a man available to the senses.

Deists, of course, took the idea futher arguing that God had entirely withdrawn from the world after creation, some even denying revelation and the miracles of the Bible.

Some might argue, to the contrary, that God is easily perceived (e.g. through the miracles of life or the nature of the world) but most would agree that the secular world is far more immediate and easily perceived. Science is the systematic investigation of the world and science will never find God.

So why is God hidden?

One theory is that God is playing hard to get. God withdraws so that we have to make an effort to seek and pursue.

But another possibility is that God does not want to dominate our lives but seeks to give us some room to discover things on our own, to make mistakes and recognize our own limitations. To order our societies and build civilizations by our own hands.

What do you think?

Nothing sinister, nor coy, nor patronizing.

It is necessary. For what?

In his deep, infinite, love of himself and his goodness, and in his deep desire that others participate in sharing that understanding and presence in him, he had to create a being that could not see him, yet with capacity to rationally know his being and reality.

The angels were an intermediary and necessary creation for the creation of the beings that could not see him.

The angels were created with the understanding that some would not desire to look at God, whom they knew about immediately when created. And some would desire to gaze on him. Those that gazed on him were immediately locked on him, unable not to love him. Those that would not look, hated the idea of God. They were necessary for us, so any contact for or against God did not come face to face, but only through his messengers, the angels.

We, however, not being able to experience the infinite being of God with our senses, are given the time and the space to come to understand God via a “masked revelation” - to know a person rather than an essence, time and space to come to love to be united to a person and to move toward that person with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, as if we were the active makers of the relationship. And we actually are: We have become like God in that we choose him before we see him in his glory, just as he chose us before we were created or redeemed. We see the wretched Jesus and choose to love him as “God”, as the Son of God, as if he were Glorious. God sees us as wretched sinners and he chooses to infuse us with his Love (another name for the Holy Spirit, if you have understood this in Aquinas). I am being somewhat poetic here, but poetry works sometimes.

Pure love to share in union. No games, no psychological persuasion. Necessity. (Not the necessity of un-freedom, but the necessity of the goal - he has a goal and he will see it completed - the necessity of his will)

:mad: It’s not playing hard to get. Prior to Adam and Eve’s rebellion, we human beings naturally enjoyed the presence of God. Getting kicked out of the garden of Eden was symbolism for mankind being expelled from God’s presence and friendship.

Since we are utterly tainted with sin, then God is doing us a favor by keeping his distance. We would definitely be overwhelmed if God were to manifest his full glory to us. During the times of the Old Testament, the mere sight of the angels was enough to force us to collapse down in fear.

We can always regain God’s friendship. Throughout history many of us have done so. “Draw close to me, and I’ll draw close to you.” People like Moses, Daniel, the Apostles, and the saints excelled in this. By drawing close to God and staying there, they reaped happiness that the worldly ones on this Earth may never experience.

Since we are utterly tainted with sin, we might not fully comprehend this verse: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”, but when we reach a certain point on the mountain, we will easily realize the joys of avoiding the superficial “happiness” which arises from sin.

In the beginning, we could joyfully eye God’s face, but we lost that privilege. BUT we can earn it BACK! Lets earn it back so we can enjoy it fully in Heaven!

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